Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Javier Garrón
Color Artist: David Curiel
Cover Artists: Javier Garrón & David Curiel
The Avengers’ world has been flipping upside-down over, over, and over again since the very first issue. Discovering the true origins of humanity, finding out about the Avengers B.C. team, another revelation about Thor’s “true” parentage. And their reality was literally warped not too long ago in the second Heroes Reborn event. Now, Avengers #46 isn’t letting up as the Avengers‘ world is about to be shaken once again, but this time by one of their own.
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Jason Aaron just finished up Heroes Reborn 2.0 and now he’s taking readers and the Avengers right into the next big story – World War She-Hulk. I’m sure plenty of others have talked to death about how derivative this title is as Marvel Comics tried it before with Amadeus Cho when he was the “Awesome” Hulk and that didn’t pan out the way they wanted. And this story doesn’t seem to be on the same level as its original namesake either.
So, the comic is what the solicit says, the Winter Guard arrive at Avengers HQ to capture She-Hulk for trashing Moscow, Russia during the previous Phoenix tournament. The story doesn’t do much with She-Hulk’s character here, in fact the bigger character here is Gorilla-Man as Aaron finally pays off a storyline with the character from many issues ago. For those who don’t know, Gorilla-Man has been secretly working with Ursa Major and the Winter Guard for some time, specifically for personal reasons as revealed in the comic.
Moving forward, Gorilla-Man might be the second major character for readers to keep an eye on as the story develops. It seems Aaron is not done with exploring what I call the “Russian Angle” when it comes to his Avengers series. The presentation of Russia in the series aside, it feels like the Winter Guard or Russia itself could’ve easily held She-Hulk and the Avengers legally responsible for the destruction in their city. In her defense, she was fighting a Phoenix-empowered Namor, so collateral damage to the surrounding buildings was always inevitable.
The third character to watch out for is the Red Widow, since she’s the one leading the charge and is given the most spotlight out of the team. She’s the one taking center stage as the lead antagonist in this event with the most significant scenes and moments in this comic book. Don’t let the title fool you, it may be called World War She-Hulk but it seems like Jennifer will just be a pawn in the Red Widow’s own plot somehow. It would be cool to see Black Widow and Red Widow face off in this story, but we’ll see.
The comic book looks good thanks to the art and colors by Javier Garrón and David Curiel, but the fights are nothing spectacular to see. The Winter Guard move in and secure She-Hulk in a relatively quick manner, part of which feels like Aaron pulled a move inspired straight from the MCU. There’s nothing too epic or memorable on how the Winter Guard capture She-Hulk, it just feels par-the-course for how organizations try to restrain and immobilize Hulk and other gamma mutates in the comic universe.
For anyone who’s not a fan of the current direction Marvel Comics and Jason Aaron have taken She-Hulk’s character and design, avoid this comic story until the end. There’s a fair chance that some good can come from this story arc for She-Hulk, but it’s just as possible the opposite could happen and you get more of the same. For example, the comic and characters go back and forth on calling her “Hulk” and “She-Hulk”, even the recap page just calls her “Hulk.”
This is a small problem since Marvel Comics made a big stink immediately after Civil War 2 about dropping the “She” prefix in her name. Bruce Banner was killed in the event and they wanted to call her “Hulk” for the time being. It didn’t go over so well with most She-Hulk fans, and now that Bruce is back as the Immortal Hulk, it seems Aaron is still determined to stick with that. It’s a minor issue but it could be indicative that readers will be getting more of Aaron’s depiction of She-Hulk and there won’t be any major changes to the character. But we’ll see as the story unfolds.
Also, Jason Aaron is still moving forward with the little Starbrand, or “Star-tyke” as I call her, and Echo as the new Phoenix joining the Avengers. This is highlighted in a conversation between Captain America and Black Panther, the latter of whom is weirdly trying to convince Cap to let a child on the team. I’m sorry, this isn’t a good idea but the comic is clearly framing Cap in the wrong and Black Panther in the right.
That aside, this comic is setting up an overpowered Avengers team now that they have both the scrappy Star-tyke and the already OP Phoenix with Echo. I imagine these two will take center stage as the ones who end up fighting She-Hulk when Jennifer becomes the new “Winter Hulk” as she’s been called by Marvel Comics.
Avengers #46 is a quick first part for World War She-Hulk as it shows just how the jade heroine and the Avengers get into this new crisis. The comic also has some payoff for a storyline set up issues ago with a specific character. It also pulls double duty in establishing the new additions to the Avengers team from Jason Aaron’s recent Heroes Reborn event. Nothing exciting really happens yet as the Winter Guard finally make their move against the Avengers, and we see the beginnings of what’s to come for She-Hulk.